Are online casino games rigged?
A question that comes up quite a lot is how fair are the games at an online Casino – are they rigged?
If you have ever played a game and not had a single win after losing your whole stack, them you’ve probably wondered this yourself. It has happened to me on numerous occasions.
It’s tempting to imagine that these online games are rigged. People think the same thing about the games in brick and mortar casinos. Also horse racing and, well…all sports.
Usually this is what as known as “confirmation bias”. Basically, you remember when you lose your bankroll but you don’t remember when you win. Or you discount the wins as “insignificant”.
The truth about gambling is that the odds are already in the favour of the Casino or Bookmakers. That’s the only way these businesses survive. Over time they have to take in more than they pay out. If this wasn’t the case there wouldn’t be any Casinos or Bookmakers.
How are the Odds stacked?
One of the simplest ways to see how the odds slightly favour the Casino is to look at roulette.
In most roulette games you get 35-1 on a single number coming in (35 times your bet and your bet back = 36). But there are 37 numbers (including zero) so you should get 36-1 (36 times your bet and your bet back = 37). So immediately the odds are in the favour of the Casino by 1/36 or about 2.8%.
When you consider that all the even/odds and column bets are all losers if a zero comes up then that pushes the Casino “edge” on roulette up by another couple of percent.
So there is no need to use any fakery. They may have bad days here and there but in the long run the odds are weighted in their favour anyway. As i said, if they weren’t – then who would start a Casino?
In Poker the odds of getting 3 of a kind (even after swapping cards) is about 8-1. Casinos pay out about 3-1. So there is no need to rig the cards.
Slots are the same. With 5 reels and 20 symbols per reel (with 1 jackpot symbol per reel), the odds of getting the jackpot symbols to line up are about 3 million to 1. To get them in a more complex winline is probably still about 1 million -1.
But jackpots tend to pay out at a few thousand to one. Except the Progressive Jackpots which can get up to several millions.
So you see that the established odds that the Online Casinos pay out, is already balanced in their favour.
If they weren’t, then the risks of going out of business would be too high.
But it does mean that the Casino games themselves don’t need to be rigged.
Reputation damage to Casinos and Game Platforms
Also you have to consider the repercussions of being caught rigging online games.
In the saturated market of Online Casinos, competitors would always be looking out for an opportunity to point the finger at a Casino who was ripping off their customers. Yet you never see it.
Occasionally in the UK, a Casino will get reprimanded by the Gambling Commission (who licence all UK serving Casinos). Normally this is for breaching rules on customer service.
Another thing to consider is that the Casinos themselves don’t develop the games. They simply act as hosts to various games platforms. So most of the Casinos don’t have the kind of access to rig the games.
And the games developers aren’t likely to risk their businesses by doing it either. They already make a good cut of the Casino take with no financial risk themselves. Why jeopardise it?
Auditors like Price Waterhouse, regularly look into these things and one verified discovery about a rigged game would put the developer out of business.
Personal Experiences & Statistics
“But,” I hear you say, “What about the time I played roulette and black came up 15 times in a row?”
Well I don’t pretend to be any kind of expert on statistics. But even if the odds of black coming up 15 times in a row are tens of thousands to one, you have to remember that there are millions of spins every month.
So in all probability that run of 15 blacks (and Reds) will happen several times.
I saw a Derren Brown TV show once, where he flipped a coin and it came up heads 10 times in a row. He was filmed and there was no edits to show it was real.
Then he revealed how he did it.
He just stood and tossed the coin about a thousand times while being filmed. Statistically it was likely it would come up heads 10 times in a row at some point. He cut out the hundreds of spins before he got the sequence of 10.
Still not convinced?
Of course some people don’t believe these things aren’t rigged, and to them I would just suggest that maybe gambling isn’t for them. Why would you take part in something you thought was crooked?
Where is the fun in that? And if the Fun stops – Stop. As they say.
For everyone else, rest easy. There are checks and balances in place to make sure the games are fair. And as the odds paid are already in the Casinos favour, there is little point in them trying to scam you.
All online Casinos which serve UK customers, even if they are based abroad, must be licensed by the Gambling Commission. See our list of Casinos here.
Disclaimer – I am not, as mentioned a statistical expert and the figures quoted are just to give a general overview. Nor can I vouch personally for the ethical nature of any third-parties. In other words, if you do come across a con man online don’t blame me.